By CRF editor, Apr 21 2020 07:55PM
The lockdown in India has been extended until May 3. As cases of coronavirus started to be identified in Kolkata, the city authorities sealed off a dozen neighbourhoods in an effort to stop its spread.
A week ago, just as we were preparing for a second major effort to resupply hundreds of people with medicine they sealed off a slum very close to Tala Park Clinic and all our staff were banned from the clinic except those living locally.
With just six staff now able to work at Tala Park, we are prioritising delivering medicine out to patients in remote rural areas first, then we will do a major resupply of both medicine and food to patients living across the city. Staff are making home visits to leprosy patients, assessing woundcare patients and giving TB patients individual time slots to come to the clinic for their life-saving medications. We have placed a major order for personal protection equipment which is going to be essential to allow our clinics to start operating again once the lockdown ends.
After a massive initial effort by the government and others to get people enough food in the early days of the lockdown , the system is beginning to show signs of strain. The price of some foods has gone up by 20% in a week, there is a shortage of porters and long queues of lorries at the border crossing points. Some slums are already running short of basic foodstuffs.. So we know that CR has got a big task to do filling the gaps over the coming weeks and months. We will get a second tranche of food out to CR’s schoolchildren now that the government has announced that schools will remain closed until June 10.
And we need to get back to the forgotten people living in a slum in Dakhineshwar that we supplied with food two weeks ago, as well as other areas that may fall short.
The teachers are making videos of lessons to share with pupils who have access to smartphones, and are continuing to support the children with remote teaching. Here is one of our tenacious 6 year old students, sitting on the railway track in Nimtala slum diligently doing her worksheets set by her teacher.